Exciting new tools for designers, January 2021 — from by Carrie Cousins

Excerpt:

The new year is often packed with resolutions. Make the most of those goals and resolve to design better, faster, and more efficiently with some of these new tools and resources.

Here’s what new for designers this month.

 

OpenAI’s text-to-image engine, DALL-E, is a powerful visual idea generator — from venturebeat.com by Gary Grossman; with thanks to Tim Holt for sharing this resource

OpenAI’s text-to-image engine, DALL-E, is a powerful visual idea generator

Excerpt:

OpenAI chose the name DALL-E as a hat tip to the artist Salvador Dalí and Pixar’s WALL-E. It produces pastiche images that reflect both Dalí’s surrealism that merges dream and fantasy with the everyday rational world, as well as inspiration from NASA paintings from the 1950s and 1960s and those for Disneyland Tomorrowland by Disney Imagineers.

From DSC:
I’m not a big fan of having AI create the music that I listen to, or the artwork that I take in. But I do think there’s potential here in giving creative artists some new fodder for thought! Perhaps marketers and/or journalists could also get their creative juices going from this type of service/offering.

Speaking of art, here are a couple of other postings that caught my eye recently:

This Elaborately Armored Samurai Was Folded From A Single Sheet of Paper
Also see:

 

From DSC:
Videoconferencing vendors out there:

  • Have you done any focus group tests — especially within education — with audio-based or digital video-based versions of emoticons?
    .
  • So instead of clicking on an emoticon as feedback, one could also have some sound effects or movie clips to choose from as well!
    .

To the videoconferencing vendors out there -- could you give us what DJ's have access to?

I’m thinking here of things like DJ’s might have at their disposal. For example, someone tells a bad joke and you hear the drummer in the background:

Or a team loses the spelling-bee word, and hears:

Or a professor wants to get the classes attention as they start their 6pm class:

I realize this could backfire big time…so it would have to be an optional feature that a teacher, professor, trainer, pastor, or a presenter could turn on and off. (Could be fun for podcasters too!)

It seems to me that this could take
engagement to a whole new level!

 

A ‘Great Cultural Depression’ Looms for Legions of Unemployed Performers — from nytimes.com
With theaters and concert halls shuttered, unemployment in the arts has cut deeper than in restaurants and other hard-hit industries.

Excerpt:

During the quarter ending in September, when the overall unemployment rate averaged 8.5 percent, 52 percent of actors, 55 percent of dancers and 27 percent of musicians were out of work, according to the National Endowment for the Arts. By comparison, the jobless rate was 27 percent for waiters; 19 percent for cooks; and about 13 percent for retail salespeople over the same period.

Also see:

Actors and Writers and Now, Congressional Lobbyists — from nytimes.com
Be an #ArtsHero started with a failed effort to extend unemployment benefits. It’s gone on to be a prime proponent of the message: Cultural work is labor.

 

Mind-Bending 3D Staircase Wins the Best Illusion of the Year Contest — from interestingengineering.com by Loukia Papadopoulos
The winner’s work is a mesmerizing take on the classic Schröder Staircase.

 

Coming Home for Christmas — from 500px.com by Arnd Kolleck
.
Coming Home for Christmas by Arnd Kolleck on 500px.com

 

Animation Trends in 2021: Popping and Intriguing Animation Ideas — from graphicmama.com by Lyudmil Enchev

Excerpt:

Before we dive in, a quick list of the 9 animation trends in 2021:
1. 3D style
2. Live-Action and Animation Mix
3. Use Textures
4. Don’t Underestimate Sound FX
5. Unique Characters and Illustration styles
6. Realistic Expressions
7. Glow and Shine Effects
8. Retro/Vintage Style Animations
9. Storytelling

.

Meet Texas A&M graduate Cheyenne Chapel, a CG artist behind Pixar’s new animated film ‘Soul’ which premieres this Christmas on Disney+ — from victoriaadvocate.com by Joe Friar, with thanks to Keesa V. Johnson for posting this on LinkedIn

Cheyenne Chapel

Cheyenne Chapel is photographed on January 21, 2020 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

 

Impressive Moving Dunes Optical Illusion — from fubiz.com

Impressive Moving Dunes Optical Illusion

 

From DSC:
I want to thank my sisters for the following items, all involving Christmas:

My sister’s watercolor of a Christmas scene:

Merry Christmas! Emmanuel -- God with us!

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Also see this fun piece from another of our sisters — Christmas according to kids:

Also see:

If you want to see, hear, and experience some wonderful creativity, artwork, music, and animation that relate to Christmas, you might want to check out the Christmas section out at JacquieLawson.com.

Christmas related artwork, music, and animation from JacquieLawson.com

Christmas related artwork, music, and animation from JacquieLawson.com

Christmas related artwork, music, and animation from JacquieLawson.com

Christmas related artwork, music, and animation from JacquieLawson.com

 

Marian Croak, the inventor of VOIP, explains what it takes to innovate

The woman who created the technology behind internet calls explains what it takes to innovate — from bigthink.com by Gayle Markovitz
She’s the reason you’re able to work and chat from home.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

If you’ve ever wondered how a Zoom call works, you might want to ask Marian Croak, Vice-President of Engineering at Google.

This is the woman who invented “Voice over Internet Protocol”: the technology that has enabled entire workforces to continue to communicate and families and friends to remain in touch throughout 2020’s lockdowns – and inevitably beyond.

What can kids teach tech innovators?
Wonder and naivete are powerful tools. Croak argues that children have rich imaginations – which is the fuel of invention. “You need to be childlike. A little naïve and not inhibited by what’s possible.”

Matlali’s work with disadvantaged teenagers brings her directly into this world, where she sees that “children are passionate but hopeful for the future. For them, everything is possible. You want kids to have the imagination and passion for them to achieve their dreams.”

Croak said her motivation for 2021 was to keep her own childlike curiosity going, forgetting about her personal circumstances and focusing on the “painpoints”.

Also see:

Marian’s entry out at Wikipedia.org where it says:

She joined AT&T at Bell Labs in 1982.[4] She advocated for switching from wired phone technology to internet protocol.[2][5][6] She holds over two hundred patents, including over one hundred in relation to Voice over IP.[7] She pioneered the use of phone network services to make it easy for the public to donate to crisis appeals.[8][9] When AT&T partnered with American Idol to use a text message voting system, 22% of viewers learned to text to take part in the show.[10][11] She filed the patent for text-based donations to charity in 2005.[10] This capability revolutionised how people can donate money to charitable organisations:[12] for example, after the 2010 Haiti earthquake at least $22 million was pledged in this fashion.[13] She led the Domain 2.0 Architecture and managed over 2,000 engineers.[14][15]

 

 

From DSC:
And here’s another interesting picture/item:

A proposed building for the Rotterdam Harbour

 
 

Railroad-journal dot com -- for those folks who love trains and photography!

From DSC:
My brother-in-law, Bob Bender, captures a lot of great trains out at railroad-journal.com. He has an artistic way of capturing the scenes and he provides a lot of interesting background/information for each picture. If you like trains, you should check his site out! 

 

Some sharp creativity from two artists!!

 
 

From DSC:
As readers of this blog know, I’m highly suspect about the future use of drones — especially from many large companies who might each develop their own army of drones and fill the skies with their sites and sounds. But below, you will see a very creative, cool use of drones (which is akin to many of the aerial pics/angles we see these days).

Long-Exposure Drone Photography — from theawesomer.com by Reuben Wu

Incredible long exposure drone photography -- by Reuben Wu

Another example of an incredible long exposure drone photography picture -- by Reuben Wu

 

Building your own website is cool again, and it’s changing the whole internet — from protocol.com by David Pierce
Writers, creators and businesses of all kinds are looking to set up their own space online again. To do that, companies are trying to figure out how to deal with two very different internets.

Excerpt:

Websites are back. After years of being sucked into the vortexes of Facebook and Yelp pages, devoting their time to amassing Twitter followers and Instagram likes, creators and businesses alike have seen the benefits of hanging up their own shingle again. Legions of writers are setting up Substack newsletters. Millions of people and businesses are setting up shop for the first time online using Squarespace or WordPress. Wix reported 7.8 million new users in the last quarter alone, and more than 29% revenue growth.

Substack doesn’t see itself as a newsletter platform, or an email-based product. The company is fundamentally interested in fostering direct relationships between readers and writers, rather than let them be mediated by companies whose interests are not always aligned with either side.

The driving force behind all that growth? Thanks to a pandemic closing stores, keeping people at home and leaving a lot of people without jobs, the only way to move forward is to figure out the internet. 

From DSC:
Though I really like WordPress — and this blog uses it — look at the stock performance in 2020 for Wix!

Stock price of Wix is way up in 2020

Our youngest daughter and I are going to set up a blog for her, as she loves to write. The idea was from her and my wife, but I love it! I think it’s highly motivating to her and she can have a voice…that she can share her writings with others. She’s got quite an imagination — so look out all!  🙂 

 

From DSC:
Our oldest daughter told me about this great/cool WIN-WIN situation here! I thought it was so cool, that I wanted to pass it along. What a great way to help communities, students, folks who want to read/write/produce art and more!


 

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